Ford sales jump as supply chain issues improve

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Ford Motor Co., CEO Jim Farley gives the thumbs up sign before announcing Ford Motor will partner with Chinese-based, Amperex Technology, to build an all-electric vehicle battery plant in Marshall, Michigan, during a press conference in Romulus, Michigan February 13, 2023.
Rebecca Cook | Reuters

DETROIT — Ford Motor’s February sales increased by more than 20% from subdued results a year earlier, as the automaker ratchets up production of its F-Series pickups and electric vehicles.

The Detroit automaker Thursday reported February sales of 157,606 vehicles, up 22% from a year earlier and a 7.7% increase from January. Ford’s sales were hampered by supply chain problems in February 2022, making for one of its worst months since 2021.

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Sales of Ford’s F-Series pickups jumped 22% last month compared with a year earlier, increasing to about 55,000 units, including 1,336 units of its electric F-150 Lightning. So far this year, sales of F-Series pickups are up 15%.

Ford’s electric vehicle sales — a major focus of Wall Street — continue to increase, up 88% from a year earlier. However, EV sales still only represent 2.9% of the automaker’s sales through February.

The automaker sold 3,600 electric F-150 Lightning vehicles through February. However, sales were off 41% compared with January as the automaker halted production and shipments of the vehicle last month due to a battery fire.

Wall Street analysts estimate U.S. auto sales last month were better than expected, reaching a seasonally adjusted selling rate of about 15 million units. BofA Securities estimated sales were up by 8.5% last month compared with February 2022.

Ford’s February sales outpaced other automakers who reported monthly sales. Toyota Motor’s sales last month were down by 8.5% compared with a year earlier, while Hyundai-Kia’s sales increased by 16.2%. Many automakers have moved to quarterly sales reporting instead of monthly.

The automotive industry continues to navigate through some supply chain and production issues,  although the flow of parts and vehicle production this year is expected to be more consistent than in recent years.

“We are optimistic regarding our performance this year,” Hyundai Motor North America CEO Randy Parker told CNBC on Wednesday. “We do anticipate that interest rates will continue to climb for the balance of the year, and hopefully that doesn’t tip us into a recession.”

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.

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